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Military Life and Adjustment


Dr. Patel
It's often a challenge to adjust to a new career, a new installation, or new responsibilities. But adjusting to new situations is a significant part of military life, for both service members and their families. Mr. Willis, what can you tell us about adjustment and military life?

Mr. Willis
Well, Dr. Patel, one of the most challenging aspects of military life is a PCS. There are many stressors associated with PCS-ing, and these are often compounded for first term service members and those relocating outside the Continental U.S. Some of those stressors include:

  • Distance from friends and family who provide social support
  • New schools and child care arrangements
  • Change in spouse's job with possible changes in income
  • Pet care during the move
  • Potential problems with pay and reimbursement of moving expenses
  • Finding housing and setting up the new household
  • Developing a new routine and learning your way around
  • Adjusting to a new time zone and climate, and
  • Homesickness

For first term service members, additional stressors can include:

  • The cultural change of adjusting to military life
  • Possibly taking responsibility for finances and bills for the first time
  • Rigorous education and training, and
  • Lack of knowledge of available resources

In addition, many young military members may be adjusting to other major life changes at the same time, such as getting married or having children.

Separation or retirement can be another difficult adjustment. Transition from the military to the civilian environment can represent a change in lifestyle, income, and living arrangements. It may be particularly challenging for someone whose military skillset doesn't translate readily into the civilian job market.